While the rest of the boys his age are taking care of cats or dogs, one boy in one of Spain’s Canary Islands, La Gomera, has a very unique and amazing pet: a stingray!
The large sea creature answers to the child’s call which is done by tapping on the shallow part of the water by the stairs at the dock. What is really amazing is that this stingray appears to recognize the boy and even allows the child to tap its body.
It would certainly be awesome to have a stingray pet, right?
Now, you might think there was nothing dangerous about keeping a stingray pet but you have to remember that stingrays did not get the “sting” in their name for nothing.
Cartilaginous fish related to sharks, stingrays have barbed stingers which could reach up to 14 inches long! These stingers are used in self-defense. Injury from a ray’s stinger can be very painful but often not life-threatening unless a vital organ is pierced. The barb is stiff but it also breaks off on its own so that surgery might be needed to remove the broken pieces left inside the wounded area.
So, the child with the pet stingray is not really in grave danger but if he is accidentally stung by the ray, it would still be very painful.
Although a novel story, this is not actually the first time that stingrays are being treated as pets; though this appears to be the first recorded case of an individual pet in the “wild”.
In several Tahitian island resorts, tourists get the chance to feed stingrays and some shark species (notably, nurse sharks) – and even swim with them! In marine sanctuary Hol Chan in Belize, tourists can also experience the same thing.
Still, I like the child’s pet better. I wish I live near the water and had one such stringray for a pet…